As December approaches – do you need an EORI number to carry on trading with the EU in case of a ‘No deal’ Brexit?

This article was published prior to the publication of the post-Brexit agreement between the UK and EU which covers the relationship between the UK and EU following the end of the implementation period (commonly referred to as the “transition period”) created by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, and should be read in that context. For up-to-date commentary and information on our services, please see our Beyond Brexit page.

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal on 31st December 2020 then you will need to make sure you have a UK EORI number for your business to continue trading in the EU.

What is it?

You currently need an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number to trade goods with countries who are based outside of the European Union or if you are based outside of the European Union and wish to trade goods with the UK.

However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal then you will also need a UK EORI number to trade with the EU after 31st December 2020 if:

  • Your main business is established in Great Britain, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man; and
  • You will import or export goods with the EU from 31st December 2020.

Having an EORI number will allow you to make an Entry Summary Declaration or Exit Summary Declaration where you do not normally supply normal import or export declarations so that you can continue to trade goods into or out of the UK. You will also be able to submit declarations using software (or to give to your agent to make these declarations on your behalf) and apply to be authorised for customs simplifications and procedures.

You will not need an EORI number if you will only import or export services which do not involve moving physical goods, or goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland-Ireland border (although it should be noted that this aspect is subject to change based upon how the arrangements of trading with Ireland are finalised – there will then be further government guidance on this).
If you already have an EORI number, you should check that it starts with “GB”. If yours doesn’t start with “GB”, you should apply for a new EORI number before 31st December 2020.

How do I apply?

The type of form you need to fill in will depend on whether you are VAT registered, exporting or importing. You will also need to apply using an alternative route if you make customs declarations yourself through systems like CHIEF, NES or NCTS.

If you are part of a group structure then the business parent or holding company must apply on your behalf.
You may receive your EORI immediately, but it can also take up to 5 working days by email if HMRC need to undertake further checks. As we get closer to the end of the year it is likely there will be delays as traffic through the system increases, so you should apply in good time. You can then provide the EORI number to your courier or freight forwarder to use when making customs declarations on your behalf.

If details such as your business name, address or VAT number change you will need to contact the government EORI team to update.

If you no longer require the EORI number or wish to add or remove yourself from the public EORI checker (for example if a deal negating the need for one is agreed) then you will also need to notify the EORI team.

To find out more, or to make your application you should go to the Government EORI page.

Alternatively, if you are worried about the impact Brexit may have upon your business trading and compliance, please contact a member of our Brexit team who will be happy to assist.

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